Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Dealing With Hemsky

from the Edmonton Journal,

Should the Edmonton Oilers be running scared with their free-agent Ales Hemsky now that an NHL arbitrator has awarded Buffalo Sabres centre Daniel Briere a whopping $5 million US a season? Anxious? Yes. Worried sick? No. "Briere and Ales aren't comparables," said Oilers assistant GM Scott Howson, who's still trying to lock up Hemsky for four or five years, if possible, before his arbitration hearing Friday. The Oilers have a right to be nervous after winger Mike York received an $800,000 raise to $2.85 million US from an arbitrator for a 52-point (13 goals, minus-9) season in Long Island last year. This is why the players fought so hard during the NHL lockout to keep arbitration; the rulings sometimes defy logic and guys get bumps in salary, even for average seasons.

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Puerto Rican “Ice”

from the Miami Herald,

After a month of speculation, the Panthers will announce plans today to play an exhibition game in San Juan on Sept. 23. The matchup with the New York Rangers, the first NHL sanctioned game in the Caribbean, will be played at the new José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum. The Rangers, who set up the game and invited the Panthers to participate, are expected to be the designated home team.
you can read on about Bouwmeester's arbitration situation... image

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Hey “Buddy”

Off Wing Opinion pointed to Sports Law Blog in which Michael McCann questions the "family friend" of Phil Kessel.

Here's the deal: although Wade Arnott is an NHLPA certified agent--and a well-respected one at that--who works for the sports agency Newport Sports Management, he is not acting as Kessel's agent in Kessel's contract negotiations with the Bruins. Rather, he's acting as Kessel's "family advisor" or "family friend." So why the difference? By Arnott being labeled a "family advisor" or "family friend," Kessel can maintain his NCAA eligibility. So if Kessel's contract talks with the Bruins were to fail, he can return to the University of Minnesota and play there in the 2006-07 season. In contrast, if Kessel were to formally sign with Arnott, NCAA rules dictate that he would immediately forfeit his collegiate eligibility.

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No Middle Ground

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

The very league that rolled back salaries, put in cost constraints, capped spending and fought for the little guy is being undermined by its own general managers and by a collective bargaining agreement that was supposed to protect both the competent and the incompetent. But who, exactly, is being protected now?

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Many Enforcers Using “Special Chemicals”

from the Globe and Mail,

Former hockey enforcer Andrei Nazarov has told the Russian sports newspaper Sport-Express that steroid use is universal among the National Hockey League's tough guys and that a majority of players are using some kind of drugs to help them hang on to lucrative jobs. To NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, Nazarov sounds like a loose cannon. But anti-doping czar Richard Pound hopes that loose cannon is the start of a fusillade.

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Waiting On Gomez

from the Star-Ledger,

According to Lamoriello, arbitrator Richard Bloch had other cases to hear and the busy schedule delayed his decision on Gomez. Bloch's decision will have a major impact on what the Devils look like this season. The team's payroll is just over $40 million with negotiations still ongoing with restricted free agents Brian Gionta, David Hale and Paul Martin. None had returned signed qualifying offers. "They haven't signed yet, but we'll find a way," Lamoriello said. Insiders say some roster juggling and anticipated trades will give the Devils a little more than $4 million this season for Gomez. Anything above $5 million would present a problem that might require Lamoriello to trade the skilled playmaker.
read on...plus Mogilny expected in camp...

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Vokoun Gets Green Light

from the Tennessean,

Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun got the best possible news from doctors today and has been cleared to return to action. Vokoun didn’t play after April 1 due to blood clots resulting from pelvic thrombophlebitis, missing the end of the regular season and the team’s opening-round playoff series with San Jose. “As the father of two, he can lead a normal life; as the goaltender of the Nashville Predators, he’s got the green light to play,” Poile said.
read on Thanks to a KK member for posting this in the KKF...

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The Maven In Late July

from Stan Fischler of MSG Network,

-Don’t be surprised if the Sabres nix signing Daniel Briere. The $5 million arbitration “settlement” is absurdly too high. A free agent next season, DB could go in a trade this week. At least three clubs are said to be interested, including Atlanta. -Nobody is more enthused about his new surroundings than Alex Tanguay. “Who wouldn’t be happy about playing on a line with Jarome Iginla,” says Tanguay. “I’ll know exactly what to do with him.” Such as getting JI the puck! -Michael Peca was one of those NHLPA characters beefing about the CBA last year. At last look, the new Leaf will be adding to his millions – along with fellow-whiner Brian McCabe – this year.

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Cover Your Ears

from Kara Yorio of the Sporting News,

It's arbitration time in the NHL. Now I'm not an agent. I'm not qualified to be an agent. I absolutely never want to be an agent. But if I were an agent, there is one rule I would never break -- I would never let my client in his arbitration hearing. What's the point? Why let the player hear his boss (usually the general manager of his team) explain why he isn't worth what he's asking, detail every failure and downplay his importance to the team?

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What Will Regier Do

from the AP via TSN,

Buffalo general manager Darcy Regier was unavailable Monday to comment on the team's financial plight. Over the next 11 days, Regier and the Sabres will go to arbitration with seven more players, including last season's leading scorer Maxim Afinogenov. Unless Regier can sign the Russian to a long-term deal, another hefty award could be in line. Afinogenov registered 73 points, far surpassing his previous career high of 40 points collected in 2001-02, while making just under $1.1 million.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com





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